It is an illegal way of gaining access to a site, creating a web page on it and inject it with lots of keywords and links pointing to the black hat SEO practitioner’s commercial page. They set up a parasite hosting to take advantage of the authoritative domains from Google. This way they would receive traffic for their site and money from those who want to buy. Usually, this happens without the knowledge or consent of the person who owns the authoritative domain.
It is what its name suggests. It’s somewhere in the middle of white and black and if used by a professional, can still be effective. However, it’s safe to say that taking a grey hat approach is playing with fire if you’re not 100% sure of what you’re doing and since we’re predominantly content-led now, it’s not something I would recommend.
As the name says it, negative SEO does the opposite of what you would expect and that is to cut traffic and decrease SEO visibility continuously. But who wants that? I would that say a lot of people since we talk about it. They don’t want to do it for their own site, but rather false reporting their competitors to get them penalized. Gary Illyes, a webmaster trends analyst at Google, tweeted on his account saying that Google hasn’t seen a real example of negative SEO?
I know all these questions have been addressed in this or that article, like in my discussion with Ken Krogue in his Forbes piece or in the latest letter by Senator John D. Rockefeller to Matt Cutts about SERPs and moving companies. Yet why is there so much confusion about search engine optimization? In an attempt to clear things up, let’s take a basic look at SEO ethics with some terms and definitions.
Gray Content. If there are limitations to White Hat and stuffing with Black Hat, Gray Hat SEO works by working in between. Enough to be considered as White Hat but not enough to be considered as Black Hat. If you want this to work, you’ll need to work on high-quality content with keywords that sounds naturally in the content. You can also work on creating duplicate contents and posted on different sites.
Then add the site to google webmaster tools and use the 'change of address' tool to redirect linkjuice back to your website. This is not paying for links because there are no direct links that go back to your site which are paid for, so you are just paying for the link juice. The webmaster that you are paying will be aware that this is what you are doing and if they agree to it, it's not against the webmaster guidelines (yet).
Hi Razvan, I love the long-form posts your team has been publishing this year. And especially the work you did with Mike King and iPullRank a few months ago. This article, in particular, was a fun trip down memory lane. I played around with article spinning 5-6 years ago. It was fun to test the accuracy of various spinners – but it also gave me a headache. -Jay Reply
As the song says, a link farm is a collection of websites connected with each other, manipulating your link profile by increasing the number of inbound links. It has a negative impact since Google sees link farming as a spammy way of getting links. The content of a site that participates in a link farm looks just like every other site on the internet with an exception: it has text covered with irrelevant hyperlinks linking to random sites. The use of link farms was popular in the days when Google Page Rank mattered, but as time changed, Google also changed, and now this practice will get you penalized because the generated links are considered to be unnatural. Humans do not create the exchanged links for humans, but rather for search engines.
Usually, PBNs are created using expired domains. This is because they already have link juice and that can come in handy when you are trying to pass authority to another site that doesn’t have so much. Yet, this is not mandatory.
Remember, Google has a product, the information it serves and if that information is no good then Google has no value. Google wants better websites and gets them from SEO professionals.
Garrat, I think you missunderstood. I was referring to targeting keywords that are similar and should all point to one page. To use your example, having a separate page or “window tinting” and “window tint”. I was referring to a very specific example I’d seen where a national restaurant made a page for each and every zipcode and city, even if there wasn’t a restaurant in that location. Regarding your “I lol’ed” comment. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be condescending or not, but all the examples above were based on real scenarios. Cheers, -Peter Reply
If you do suck at black hat SEO, or just do it to make money and suck at it, well you’re a very, very special type of SEO. You, my friend, are an asshat SEO. Asshat SEOs aren’t SEOs at all, but they make money using our techniques while making the rest of us look bad.
Before you get caught, and God knows what will happen to you and your site, you must wonder “Is the black hat SEO worth it?”. Just do good and good will come to you.
Following the rise and eventual decline of the full disclosure vs. anti-sec "golden era"—and the subsequent growth of an "ethical hacking" philosophy—the term grey hat began to take on all sorts of diverse meanings. The prosecution in the U.S. of Dmitry Sklyarov for activities which were legal in his home country changed the attitudes of many security researchers. As the Internet became used for more critical functions, and concerns about terrorism grew, the term "white hat" started referring to corporate security experts who did not support full disclosure.
Hey Christy, While this post is old, I actually know several domain authority 70+ sites where all of these still work. However, they probably wouldn’t do much for a new or a lower authority site. -Peter Reply
Many website owners disagree about what is the best way to perfect their website’s SEO. It all comes down to a strategy decision that could affect your website’s longevity and reputation. Some people believe that in order to succeed, you need to apply grey or even black hat SEO tactics. However, white hat SEO optimizers have a different opinion. White hat SEO tactics are always going to give you the most long term effects, and plenty of studies have shown that.
The possibility of your site being banned from Google is lesser compared with Black Hat SEO. However, the risk is still there and may result to a penalty. Techniques are questionable but nonetheless effective if with proper execution and of course, keeping up-to-date with Google’s guidelines.
- General rule of thumb. Avoid the mainstream. I have always believed that “everything popular is wrong” in SEO, even in grey hat seo (some call it “gray hat seo”). If you see a busy niche or keyword, avoid it. There are so many easy wins still in the SEO world that it’s not worth your effort to try and get some of the big nasty hard keywords unless you really have your skills down.
This should also be avoided, there are thousands of sites that claim to provide genuine likes for a few dollars, but this is rarely a good idea. Much of the time, the likes are not genuine, but gleaned from lapsed accounts that aren’t used anymore.
Duplicate content is a type of content that appears on more than one site. Also, duplicate content might be content stolen from other places (URLs). It is only giving a hard time to search engines to choose from all the duplicate content, and show the correct piece of information – which usually happens, and Google is showing the original content in SERPs. That because it can’t show duplicate content – it’s not relevant to the user. Oh, the good old days of SEO when duplicate content wouldn’t damage your site so bad! Nowadays, using this technique will hamper your ranking in a blink of an eye. Besides that, you might put your site at high risk of getting penalized by Google Panda. A safe way that is not considered duplicate content is using citation for the information you gather from external sources.
Whenever you put a comment on any blog, always make an excuse to link back to yourself. While you're at it, get into the habit of being very helpful. Join forums where you can post solutions to other people’s problems. Moneysavingexpert.com is a great one as it gets lots of traffic and has a plethora of relevant topics.
Microsites are no secret. They have been abused in every way imaginable. However, I will say that the most benefit I’ve seen gained from them is splitting them up by niche for local services. For example, a law firm having one site for their divorce services and then another for personal injury. This allows you to focus on specific areas for each site.
Never-the-less, I encourage you to write headlines, but take in mind that you should always have only one H1, and H2, H3, etc. just when it’s necessary.
Nice work on the post Peter. In your point about not putting keyword pages in the nav, if, for example, you were working on a Phoenix lawyer website would you recommend pages such as “Glendale Lawyer” targeting each of the individual communities around the larger city but don’t put the links to these pages in the nav? Thanks. Reply
This is a really sneaky one- eg if you are trying to promote power tools, call it a 'power tools review website'. Then add all your competitors to the directory. Add some content over the next few weeks, then after a few weeks, change the website to say that all links on the site require a $199 inclusion fee, and then report all the competitor sites on the directory as paying for links. – this is an example of negative SEO which is difficult to ban you for
4. Reviews, review, reviews. We saw a small movement last year as more and more companies started to realize the value of reviews -- but this year, it might be even bigger. You need to set out a whole new strategy to earn reviews -- by becoming involved with Yelp, using review extensions or even giving someone a new primary responsibility in your department.
There have been a lot of scare stories relating to guest posting and if this constitutes buying links, but if no cash is exchanged, then this is irrelevant. However, links can be exchanged for sponsorship of events (for example) and this is OK too.
This goes both ways. If you are a victim of this act, you can find software to help you discover who is stealing content from you and complaint against the site that has stolen your content. I’m not giving you ideas, just helping you make a difference between what’s wrong and what’s right and get away from the temptations and the bad guys. And I’m not talking about Google, he’s the good guy. Well, he is good as long as you’ve done nothing to upset him.
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